Frank Devine needs to read more widely. Or, if in
fact he does read as widely as he claims, stop misleading readers about the
nature of what is being published.

In his
column for The Australian on Friday, Devine
described himself as a “diligent student of the American media”, then asserted
that “it’s harder to find in the American media than it is in ours any portrayal
of Bush’s armed venture into radical Islam’s heartland as a wrapped-up,
down-and-done, hopeless failure”.

That statement is complete bullsh*t,
even if Devine has given himself every chance of being right by not so much
setting the bar low, as dropping it on the ground. Nonetheless, to make
things even easier for Frank, let’s exclude the hundreds of “hopeless failure”
reports to be found from left or liberal sources like The Nation, The
Progressive
, Truthout, Raw Story, Bob Herbert, Harold Meyerson, The American
Prospect
, Maureen Dowd, or The New York Review of Books.

This
piece
by Howard Kurtz, “Media Notes” writer for The
Washington Post
, gives a more reliable guide to the tone of US coverage than
Devine: “Have the media declared war on the war?” Or how about the “grandfather” of US
conservatism, William F
Buckley, writing in National Review: “One can’t doubt
that the American objective in Iraq has failed.”

In the respected journal
Foreign Policy, Lt Gen William
E Odom
explained “Why America must get out of Iraq
now.” By the way, Foreign Policy ranked Iraq at fourth on its failed
state index
. Conservative George Will
recently wrote about “Bleakness
in Baghdad”
.

In November last year, the
conservative magazine Commentary held a symposium
of 36 conservative thinkers
on Bush’s Iraq policy –
many were critical. The New Yorker‘s George Packer, the best known of the “liberal hawks” who supported the invasion, has since written one of the most
acclaimed books on Iraq, Assassins’ Gate. In this
recent article
, Packer reports: “Many officials in
the Administration now admit, privately, and after years of wilful blindness,
that the war … is going badly and shows no prospect of a quick
turnaround.”

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bases
this
column
, a plea for “realistic idealism”, on the
implication that Iraq is a foreign policy failure. In The Washington Post
yesterday, Nir
Rosen of the New America Foundation
describes Iraq
as a charnel-house and says “the worst is yet to come”.

Some recent news
reports. In Time magazine, Michael
Ware reports from Ramadi
: “There’s no reason to
believe that the Americans’ battle against Iraqi insurgents is going to get
better.”

A two-part New York Times report on the Iraqi police force,
part
one here
and part
two here
says: “the police are a battered and
dysfunctional force that has helped bring Iraq to the brink of civil war.” The
same papers also recently reported that the
Iraqi middle class is leaving
; and its editorial
yesterday
said: “It’s time for Mr Bush either to
chart a course that can actually be followed, or admit that there is
none.”

There’s lots, lots more where that came from. If after three
years, about 100,000 deaths and something like US$450 billion, that is not a
“wrapped-up, down-and-done, hopeless failure”, it’ll do until we get
one.

Peter Fray

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